CSO raises concern over conflict in pipeline security surveillance in N/Delta

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South

THE Country Director and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, has said the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, does not stop the Federal Government from carrying out its constitutional responsibility of providing social amenities and infrastructural development in the Niger Delta.

Mulade, a governorship aspirant in Delta state, said: “There have been claims and counter-claims in some quarters that the PIA might result in the Federal Government abandoning its mandate to remediate the Niger Delta environment”

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“I want to clearly state that the PIA and three per cent allocation to host communities do not relieve the Federal Government of its responsibility to provide basic amenities and care for its citizens, especially when it is the main beneficiary of crude oil production activities, which degraded the Niger Delta environment.

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“My candid advice is that the government of the federation and the Presidency should do the needful without further delay. 

“I call on the federal government to complete the remediation of the Niger Delta environment, and the socioeconomic rejuvenation of the oil -rich region devastated by incessant oil spillage, crude oil exploration and exploitation, deprivation and marginalization. 

“In fact, it is the responsibility of the Nigerian government and oil companies to remediate the degraded environment, adequately compensate the affected host communities and revamp the bastardized social and economic well-being of the Niger Deltans due to crude oil exploration activities in the region”, he said.

 Mulade, the Ibe-Seremowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State, added: “The rejuvenation of the socioeconomic life of the Niger Delta people is compulsory, important and necessary. Successive federal governments wasted too much time to address and accomplish this mandate.”

“Though I appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly and all others for working tirelessly to ensure the current PIA, I wish to remind the federal government and its relevant agencies to the fact that the region had long been degraded and the environment devastated before the emergence of the PIA.

“Therefore, federal government cannot and should not hide under the Act to further marginalize the region, rather it should be directly involved in its speedy remediation and socioeconomic rejuvenation.

“PIA cannot take retrospective effect on the people it is meant to protect and or benefit and it would be unethical for the federal government to take off its hands at a time when the world is cooperating to protect the rights of citizens and community people.

“Niger Delta people have the right to live in a clean environment and have access to clean drinkable water currently being denied them by the government and multinational oil companies operating in the region. 

“It is not news that oil companies abandoned thousands of polluted sites in the oil- rich region which need to be identified and studied critically. The degradation had led to the destruction of aquatic organisms and polluted water supply sources, which in turn adversely affected the health and well being of the people, resulting in high mortality rates.

“The present sorry state of the environment caused by oil companies operating in the region, needs to be reversed, while the affected communities should be adequately compensated for their losses. Environmental experts to go the extra mile of identifying such sites, study them and make a case for the affected communities”, he added. 

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